Despite Kim Davis’ rapturous description of how Pope Francis embraced her and her bigoted efforts to continue to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, it now looks like the pope isn’t as big a Kim Davis fan as she led us to believe.
In fact, Vatican officials today (Friday, Oct. 2) released statements that totally contradict the implication that Davis had been specifically invited by the pope for a special meeting.
“Pope Francis was kind, genuinely caring, and very personable. He even asked me to pray for him. Pope Francis thanked me for my courage and told me to ‘stay strong,’” Davis told CNN earlier this week. Davis said she put her hand out to greet the pontiff, and that “he hugged me, and I hugged him.”
Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel founder and Davis’ lawyer, told CNN the meeting lasted about 10 minutes and was just between the pope, Davis and her husband. Staver was not at the meeting, but said that Pope Francis hugged Davis and gave her and her husband both rosaries, and that Davis gave her rosary to her parents, who are Catholic.
After the meeting, Davis told ABC News, “Just knowing the pope is on track with what we’re doing, and agreeing, you know, kind of validates everything.”
But now it’s looking like Davis’ “everything” isn’t so valid after all.
Vatican officials initially refused to either confirm or deny that Pope Francis had met with Davis, and then later acknowledged that the meeting took place. But, they are now adding, Davis was just one of “several dozen” folks that the pope greeted during a reception at the Vatican Embassy just before he left Washington, D.C. And, officials have said, it wasn’t the Pope who asked for Davis to be there, but instead an embassy official that extended the invitation.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi, released this statement:
“Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability. The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.
“The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”
And as NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli reports from Italy, “the Rev. Thomas Rosica, English language assistant at the Holy See Press Office, says that Francis may not have understood ‘the impact’ a visit with Davis might have in the U.S.; Rosica also says the group that included Davis was selected by the nunciature, the Vatican’s diplomatic office in D.C.”
To top it all off, not only is the Vatican now stressing that the Pope is not “on track” with Kim Davis and her bigotry, it appears that the “former student” and his family that Rev. Lombardi referred to in his statement is a gay man and his partner and some friends, according to the New York Times.
Yayo Grassi, an openly gay man living in Washington, D.C., told the Times that his a former student of the pope, and that he had been granted a meeting with the pontiff. Grassi said he was accompanied by his partner of 19 years, Iwan Bagus, and four friends.
Contacted by phone, a former student of Francis, Yayo Grassi, said he had been granted a meeting with the pope. Mr. Grassi is an openly gay man living in Washington, and he said he had been accompanied by his partner of 19 years, Iwan Bagus, as well as four friends.
According to the New York Times, “Mr. Grassi, a 67-year-old caterer, said that his group met with Francis at the Vatican Embassy on Sept. 23 — a day before Ms. Davis met the pope. In the 1960s, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, as the future pope was called, taught Mr. Grassi Argentine literature and psychology at the Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepción, a Jesuit high school in Santa Fe, Argentina.”